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Sabrina Basin TR- June 22-23/2012

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Sabrina Basin TR- June 22-23/2012

Postby richlong8 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:32 am

I took this trip to Sabrina Basin on the east side of the High Sierra last month- wow, what a beautiful area. Unfortunately, I did not get to see it at its best. This was a weekend when the winds were high. I estimate gusts up to 50mph. I originally planned a three day trip, but cut out a day early. I had wanted to head up to some of the higher lakes but decided to wait till another time. I left the trailhead at Sabrina Friday morning, and made my way up to "Moonlight Falls", on the outlet creek of Moonlight Lake, where I set up camp 200 yards below the falls. There was a couple of folks camped over by Sailor Lake, but other than that I seemed to be alone in the upper part of the basin. I am glad, for someone would have gotten a good laugh seeing me set my tent up in the high winds, and chasing my Thermorest pad down a slope!
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Anyone care to recommend a tripod for backpacking in the High Sierra? I have always heard that you should use a good one that can hold up in weather. I setup my cheap one pound Targus tripod, and while I was getting my camera out, the tripod blew over, and broke on impact. Needless to say, I am quite glad my camera was not attached. So the pics were a little disappointing, all handheld, and the lake surfaces were rarely still enough for a reflection due to the wind. Don't get me wrong, this was a great trip. Sometimes, maybe we get spoiled by the weather that is good in the Sierras,more often than not.
I made the easy cross country hike up to beautiful Moonlight Lake that afternoon. I caught one 8" brookie before heading down. I found the fishing ok up here in Sabrina Basin, not the kind of fishing that would excite the "Fishing Hole" forum members, but ok. I had alot of luck during the weekend catching and releasing 7-9" brookies from the inlets and outlets of the lakes. I fished Blue Lake and Moonlight Lake Friday, then Hungry Packer, Topsy Turvy, Midnight, and Blue Lake again on the way down Saturday. I think the biggest was no more than 10 inches, but it was not too hard to catch fish if they were not visible on the surface. I will say that I have seen a lot of brookies lazily cruising around lakes who steadfastly refuse to go after my lure or fly this year. I am becoming convinced I am probably not as good of a fisherman as I sometimes think I am.

Hungry Packer Lake- beautiful lake- seemed to have the most potential for bigger fish, shortage of developed campsites?
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Midnight Lake
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I hope to get back to this area someday- it seems to have a lot of lake basins that don't necessarily get a lot of visitors.
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Re: Sabrina Basin TR- June 22-23/2012

Postby Talimon » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:23 am

Those pics look stunning. This area is on my shortlist of options for a 4 day trip over Labor Day weekend, with my girlfriend. We are looking for solitude, which it sounds like we may find in this area. If we were considering setting-up a basecamp and doing day-hikes around the area, would you recommend a particular lake that had good swimming potential?
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Re: Sabrina Basin TR- June 22-23/2012

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:36 am

Thanks Rich for the TR and pictures. Wind can make a photographers outing quite
difficult, and requires you to think out of the box to come up with some keepers.
In the case of water longer exposures with a 10 stop filter for example can make for
some good and out of the ordinary shots.
Also doing some photography by moonlight when the wind dies down another option
but requires the photographer to scout out some locations during the day.
In regards to tripods my philosophy is to carry the best, heaviest you can afford
and are willing to carry.
Here are 2 reviews that can get you started, but there are many more available
on line.
http://www.techradar.com/us/news/photog ... cleContent
http://www.dpreview.com/articles/281243 ... -under-450
I love my Gitzo, but you may not want to spend that kind of money, and
most likely do not need too. There are plenty of cheaper, and good quality tripods
available. You may even consider buying a very good used tripod at: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/board/10
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Sabrina Basin TR- June 22-23/2012

Postby frediver » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:25 am

I no nothing about what makes a good tripod, I always thought steady was "good".
I'm wondering now that you mentioned blowing over, why not just add more
weight to the one you have when you get there ? As long as it will support the weight
would it be possible to "tie-on" a small mesh bag and add a few rocks or nylon bag
and add sand OR waterproof bag and add Water ? Would the extra weight help hold
your camera "more" steady, better able to withstand a breeze?
My 1st thought was to tie a taught center line to the pod and drive a stake but that
would not work very well on rock.
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Re: Sabrina Basin TR- June 22-23/2012

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:43 am

Hi Fred,

Some tripods feature a hook under the head which an be pulled out and a pack or
other heavy object can be used to stabilize it like seen in this picture:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Revi ... eview.aspx
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Sabrina Basin TR- June 22-23/2012

Postby richlong8 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:24 am

Thanks you for all the tripod suggestions. The broken tripod and near miss with the camera have convinced me to improve my equipment if I am going to carry a better camera and lenses. I don't need pro quality, but something decent that is fairly light. Thanks for the tips, everyone.
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Re: Sabrina Basin TR- June 22-23/2012

Postby richlong8 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:28 am

Sorry, I don't have any swimming suggestions. I normally don't swim in high altitude H2O- I don't like cold water! Someone else out there might have some better suggestions. Generally speaking, the amount of people thin out the higher and more off trail you go in this basin.
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Re: Sabrina Basin TR- June 22-23/2012

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:40 am

Talimon wrote:...would you recommend a particular lake that had good swimming potential?


Hello Talimon,

You are going to find out by personal experience, that swimming in Sierra timberline and alpine lakes is not an activity road side visitors much less we backpackers participate in. Anyone driving past the long inlet beach on Tenaya Lake in Yosemite will immediately notice lots of people sunbathing on the sand and almost none more than ankle deep in the water. Oh out in the backcountry one will see backpackers jump in briefly to clean trail dust off but they won't play about swimming around. However there are a few lower elevation lakes often outside wilderness below 7k that by mid August warm up nicely.
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Re: Sabrina Basin TR- June 22-23/2012

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:58 am

Winds in the Sierra due to complex terrain are often variable, intermittent, and gusty. If one has not noticed any gusty winds in the last 15 minutes, it may be safe to leave a tripod with camera attached unattended briefly. Otherwise one ought always be wary when moving more than grabbing distance away regardless of the size and weight of a tripod. It is true heavier tripods tend to be more stable however that won't help much against strong gusts. Best strategy is per frediver's post, load down the center column.

Several years ago while up in Pine Creek, I tripoded my Wisner 4x5 with a 90mm Nikor lens attached in front of a grass hummock in a shallow pond. Winds had not been gusty and I wasin fact waiting for the light breeze to die down for a reflection. I decided to check out some nearby viewpoints so walked away. A few minutes later a strong gusty downdraft arrived. I heard it in the nearby tree tops so ran back to the pond but was too late. My lens smacked straight down in mud below a few inches of water. Camera was full of mud and water. Being a view camera, I was able to totally disassembly the camera and the lens, clean and dry them out. So was able to continue shooting about an hour later with all film exposing normally. I was luckly the lens hit mud and not some rock.
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Re: Sabrina Basin TR- June 22-23/2012

Postby Talimon » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:06 pm

SSSdave wrote:
Talimon wrote:...would you recommend a particular lake that had good swimming potential?


Hello Talimon,

You are going to find out by personal experience, that swimming in Sierra timberline and alpine lakes is not an activity road side visitors much less we backpackers participate in. Anyone driving past the long inlet beach on Tenaya Lake in Yosemite will immediately notice lots of people sunbathing on the sand and almost none more than ankle deep in the water. Oh out in the backcountry one will see backpackers jump in briefly to clean trail dust off but they won't play about swimming around. However there are a few lower elevation lakes often outside wilderness below 7k that by mid August warm up nicely.


I would beg to differ! While certainly nobody would discuss swimming laps at 10,000 feet, I think there are numerous factors that qualify one lake as being more suiteable for bathing than another. Among these are how shallow the lake is, which affects temperature, and whether the floor of the lake is sand, granite, mud, etc. While I wouldn't assume the average visitor at Tenaya would have an appetite for cold water, there are few things more refreshing than bathing in clean mountain water after a long day of hiking. Having a lake that is well-suited for this (shallow depth, sand or granite surface) makes a difference.
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